Traveling During Your Program
Have you always dreamed about visiting the Hollywood sign, walking around Broadway or visiting the Grand Canyon? Your Au Pair year is your chance to travel the USA – either with friends, your host family or by yourself! To make the most of your time in the US, please make sure to discuss your vacation dates with your host family early on. Remember, vacation days must be taken at a mutually agreed upon time.
To travel outside of the country during the first year of your program, au pairs MUST have a valid travel signature on their DS-2019 form that is no more than 1 year old. If you plan on traveling internationally and do not have a valid signature on your DS-2019 form, please mail your original DS-2019 form to the following address:
Agent Au Pair
700 State Street
New Haven, CT 06511
General Travel Advice:
- When traveling internationally, make sure your passport is still valid. Your passport should still be valid for a minimum of 6m when re-entering the US.
- If you are travelling internationally, make sure to gather all the needed information on travel restrictions and visa requirements. Your US visa does not give you the ability to enter any other country except for the US. The best way to find out whether or not you will need a visa for the country that you plan to visit (and how to apply for it) is by contacting the country’s embassy in the US.
- Make sure to always take your original documents with you when traveling. Photocopies are not valid travel documents.
- If you lost your passport during your 1st year you will have to get a replacement passport. Your replacement passport will not have a visa in it so you will not be able to travel internationally anymore.
- Approval to re-enter the US (even if you have all the needed paperwork) is always with the immigration officer at the U.S. border. Agent Au Pair has no control over this and cannot reverse any decision made by an immigration officer. Due to this, please always remember that international travel includes a risk of not being able to re-enter the US.
- Also, airlines will check your paperwork before allowing you to board your flight. Even if you travel to a country participating in the visa revalidation, airlines might not allow you to board their flight with an expired visa. While the risk of not being allowed to re-enter after having visited a country participating in automatic visa revalidation is small, there still is no a guarantee that you will be allowed to re-enter.
International Travel during your First Year
You should be able to travel outside of the US during your first year, as long as your visa in your passport is still valid upon your return to the US. Please note though that the final approval for re-entering the US is always with the immigration officer at the U.S. border. Before traveling internationally, please make sure:
- That your travel dates have been approved by your host family,
- That your passport is still valid (not expired),
- That your J1 visa in your passport is not expired (it needs to still be valid at the time you re-enter the US),
- That the ‘entries’ section in your J1 visa is marked with an ‘M’ (meaning you are allowed to enter the US multiple times under this visa),.
- Your DS–2019 form has a valid signature.
If you need your DS–2019 form signed: send your original, most recent DS2019 form to the Agent Au Pair office, 700 State Street, Suite 202, New Haven, CT 06511, no later than 30d before your intended trip to have it signed for travel (if your DS from was signed for travel within the past 12m you will not have to send it again as signatures are valid for up to 1 year),
- That you secure any necessary visas for the country that you intend to visit (you will be responsible to research any entry requirements and stay current on any changes in requirements)
- To take your passport with your visa, your DS2019 form (signed for travel by Agent Au Pair within the last 6m) and your I-94 with you. You can get your most recent I-94 here: I94 – Official Website.
International Travel during your Second Year
Agent Au Pair does not recommend au pairs traveling internationally during their extension year. You should not travel outside the country during your extension year other than to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands. The only way to guarantee the au pair gets back into the United States during their second year is if if they return to their home country and renew his/her Visa before re-entering the United States.
When extending for a second year, Agent Au Pair is only able to extend your DS2019 form. With the extended DS2019 form you will be able to remain in the US legally and to continue the Au Pair Program. However, your visa in your passport will have expired within your 1st program year. Without a valid visa you will not be able to re-enter the US which is why international travel is not recommended.
Should you still plan to travel internationally, you will have 2 options:
Visiting a country that is participating in the automatic visa revalidation
Even when your visa expires with the end of your 1st year, you should still be able to visit any of the countries participating in the automatic visa revalidation during your extension year.
Please note: though that the final approval for re-entering the US is always with the immigration officer at the U.S. border. Also please make sure to send your most current DS2019 form to the Agent Au Pair office no later than 30d prior to your trip to have it signed for travel (signature valid for 1 year). You should also print a copy of the automatic visa revalidation fact sheet and take it with you on your travels.
Countries participating in automatic visa revalidation include: Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean Islands (Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Cuba Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Marie-Galante, Martinique, Miquelon, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Christopher, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten/Saint Martin, Saint Pierre, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands and other British, French, and Dutch territories or possessions bordering on the Caribbean Sea)
Please note that you will only be eligible for automatic visa revalidation if you are traveling to any of those regions for less than 30d and have your valid DS2019 as well as your I-94 with your while traveling. You can get your most recent I-94 here.
There are certain cases when you will not be eligible for automatic visa revalidation:
- When you have applied for a visa status change (please note that Agent Au Pair has to be informed of this immediately),
- You left the Au Pair program and your program has been terminated,
- You have left the US for more than 30d,
- You are a citizen of one of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria.
- You can also find more information here: Travel | ICE.
Applying for a new J1 visa (Please contact Agent Au Pair)
It is possible to return to your host country to apply for a new visa for your extension year. This will be the same process and cost as when you applied for your first year visa. However, there is no guarantee your visa will be approved. Please note that you will also still have to meet all the program requirements, including the age limit, when re-applying.
***If you consider returning to your home country to apply for a new visa, please contact Agent Au Pair before doing so to discuss timelines.
Traveling at the end of Your Program
Upon successful completion of your Au Pair program, you will be eligible for your travel month. Your travel month is a 30d period after your program end date in which you are allowed to remain in the US to travel. Your DS2019 form as well as your visa will have expired already. Due to this you will not be able to re-enter the US (also not from any countries participating in automatic visa revalidation) but can only travel within the US. Also, your health insurance will have ended already. You will receive information for optional health insurance coverage from us once your return flight has been booked. While coverage is optional, we strongly recommend it so you are safe during your travel month.
About 4m prior to your program end date you will have received your Departure Documents. Those documents also include a departure request form. Should you decide to take your travel month (and Agent Au Pair has confirmed you have completed your program successfully), you can choose a return date anywhere between your program end date and up to 30d after it. Please note that it is recommended to not fly out on the very last day of your travel month in case there are flight cancellations or delays.
Should you plan to travel within the US and you would like to return home from an airport which is not the closest international airport to your host family’s home, approval from Agent Au Pair is needed and you might need to pay a surcharge.
For example: the closest airport to your host family is New York but you plan to travel to Hawaii and request a flight home from Hawaii instead of from New York. Prices to travel home from Hawaii might be significantly more expensive than traveling from New York. Agent Au Pair will compare prices and will let you know if there is a price difference. You can then decide to pay the price difference or to change your departure airport.
The US has a lot to offer and you might be overwhelmed by all the different sights the US has to offer. Please find below some resources to plan your travel throughout the US!